The coronavirus pandemic or formally known now as Covid-19 has rapidly infected the whole world with cumulative numbers soaring to more than 5 million positive cases and more than 300 000 deaths worldwide in just 6 months. The statistics are definitely harrowing and it makes each and every one of us agitated if we suddenly develop a cough or we feel our temperature gets a little hotter than usual. And we would flinch reflexively whenever someone coughs or sneezes near us.
I am pretty sure that it has occurred to a lot of us, to undergo testing for Covid-19 for fear of having already contracted the deadly disease. But, is it really necessary? Should we risk ourselves to go to government hospitals, line up with a crowd of sickly and probably infected people, just so that we can be sure that we don’t have the virus? For all we know, we could get infected just by being near the crowd at the hospitals. Should we then opt for spending a couple of hundred Ringgits at private institutions offering Covid-19 testing? Is it really worth it? In this article, we shall look into the issue of who should get tested for Covid-19.
Generally, there are two types of testing available to screen for Covid-19, namely molecular method and serological method. The molecular method detects the presence of viral genetic material in a sample, hence confirming the infective status of that person. This method uses a technology called RT-PCR or real-time PCR. The equipment and reagents needed for the test are limited and costly therefore, government hospitals need to reserve the test to only high-risk cases.
So who should get tested for Covid-19?
In short, anyone who fulfils this criterion:
- Having a fever or one of these respiratory symptoms; shortness of breath, cough, sore throat AND
- Recent travel to (within 14 days) or reside in red zones, or heavily infected countries such as China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran. OR
- Close contact with a Covid-19 positive patient within 14 days to the onset of illness. This includes healthcare workers dealing with Covid-19 patients with inadequate PPE, working together in a closed environment, or sharing the same room, travelling together with a Covid-19 patient regardless of the vehicle, and living together with a Covid-19 patient.
Reiterating the point, a person fulfils the criteria to undergo testing if he or she has fulfilled points 1 and 2, or 1 and 3, or all 1, 2 and 3.
If you have fulfilled the criteria, then you should immediately keep your distance of at least 1 m away from your family members and anyone you meet, and get yourself checked. It is also wise to wear your face mask and apply your hand sanitiser liberally to avoid possibly spreading the virus.
There are extremes of people who are overly-worried and overly-dismissive in this regard. Some people become anxious from developing a cold even though they have not stepped out of their house. Whilst on the other end of the spectrum, some people can also be nonchalant, not caring at all if he or she might acquire or spread the virus.
Despite all that Covid-19 testing can be done at private institutions. Here, practically anyone can get themselves checked but they may cost anywhere from RM300 – RM600, or higher. If you would like to find ease in confirming your infective status and wouldn’t mind spending a few hundred Ringgits, then you can definitely get yourself checked from those places offering Covid-19 testing.